Djibouti: Regional Security News Headlines

Djibouti (HAN) August 25.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. The IGAD2020 regional security Watch. 

Headline – 1- logistical and intelligence support: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Saudi Arabia for talks on Yemen, Somalia, & Syrian Security issues
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has met with Saudi King Salman in the Red Sea city of Jiddah ahead of wider talks focusing on the conflicts in Yemen, Syria Somalia and Libya with other Gulf Arab officials. The U.S. will increase logistical and intelligence support to a Saudi-led coalition of nine Arab countries, including Somalia to counter-terror activities in the region..

2- Humanitarian Security:  UN reports over 600000 displaced in Ethiopia  

The United Nations have claimed that since Ethiopia’s devastating floods in March that ended the worst drought in decades.

3- Turkish Strategic Success with White house 
Turkey’s border must be controlled by Turkey only, and there should be no occupation by other groups, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said and also  reassured that the U.S. supports Syria’s territorial integrity, as well as  Turkey’s position regarding the existence of PYD (Kurdish fighters) along its southern border with IRAQ and Syria.. Syria Kurds are pulling back in north Syria . Biden said and apologized to the Turkish people for taking so long to visit the country after the brutal July 15 failed coup attempt.


4- Terror Attack: American University in Kabul Killed at Least 13, Officials Say
An overnight assault that lasted nearly 10 hours on the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul left at least 13 people dead and dozens wounded, officials said. Abdul Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for the Kabul police, said two gunmen were able to make it past the university’s tight security after a suicide bomber detonated explosives in a vehicle to clear an entrance. Mujahid said seven students, three police officers, two university guards, and one guard who worked for a school for the blind, just next door to the university, were among the dead. Thirty others were wounded, he said. The bomber and both gunmen were also killed. Khawaja Qamaruddin Sediqi, an adviser at the Afghan Ministry of Health, provided slightly different figures, saying that 14 people had been killed and nearly 50 others wounded.


5- Iran Vessels Make ‘High Speed Intercept’ of U.S. Ship: U.S. Official
Four of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels “harassed” a U.S. warship on Aug. 23 near the Strait of Hormuz, according to a U.S. defense official. The official said that two of the Iranian vessels came within 300 yards of the USS Nitze in an incident that was described as “unsafe and unprofessional.” The vessels harassed the destroyer by “conducting a high speed intercept and closing within a short distance of Nitze, despite repeated warnings,” the official said. The U.S. defense official said that in the incident the USS Nitze tried to communicate with the Iranian vessels 12 times, but received no response. It also fired 10 flares in the direction of two of the Iranian vessels. The official said that the incident “could have led to further escalation, including additional defensive measured by Nitze.” The Iranian guard has been suspicious of U.S. military activity near the country’s borders. Moreover, the U.S. and other countries are concerned about Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, its ballistic missile program, and its backing for Shiite militias that have abused civilians in Iraq. It remains to be determined whether the actions were carried out by rogue Revolutionary Guard commanders or if they were sanctioned by senior officials in Tehran, according to Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


6- Turkey Struggles With Wedding Bombing Probe as Threats Mount
Investigators are trying to identify the persons behind a wedding bombing in Turkey on Aug. 20. Officials have blamed the Islamic State for the attack on a crowd of mostly women and children, but there has been no official claim of responsibility. The Gaziantep governor’s office raised the death toll to 54 people, including 31 minors, and said 13 of the 94 injured wedding guests remained in critical condition, marking the nation’s deadliest terror attack this year. Eight of the dead have yet to be identified, and the suicide bomber may be among them, the governor’s office said. The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has criticized the government in the aftermath, stating that “there is a serious intelligence failing.” The attack has added urgency to the ongoing debate over how to best fight terrorism in a country that also has been dealing with the fallout of a failed coup in mid-July .


7- Mobile Bank Heist: Cyber Thieves Hackers Target Your Phone

Cyber thieves are using malicious software programs to steal banking credentials from unsuspecting consumers when they log onto their bank accounts via their mobile phones, according to law-enforcement officials and cybersecurity specialists. The prevalence of the malware is significant enough that it has caught the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. banking regulators. The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council in April updated its guidance for banks to include potential threats facing mobile financial services, including mobile-phone malware. The malware typically gets onto a phone when a user clicks on a text message from an unknown source or taps an advertisement on a website. Once installed, it often lays dormant until the user opens a banking app. The malware then creates a customized overlay on the authentic banking app, enabling criminals to follow a user’s movements on the phone and eventually grab credentials to the account. This type of mobile-phone malware is gaining ground as more consumers are using banking apps and financial firms are rolling out a wider array of mobile services. The Federal Reserve said earlier this year that 53 percent of smartphone users with bank accounts had used mobile banking in the previous 12 months, up from 43 percent in 2011. The most common mobile-banking activity is checking an account balance. Mobile phones are considered particularly vulnerable to hackers because consumers typically do not install anti-malware protection onto their devices.

8- ISIS-Inspired Knife Attack in Virginia
The FBI has launched a federal terrorism investigation into a stabbing on Saturdayin Roanoke, Va., to determine whether the attacker was trying to behead his victim in an ISIS-inspired assault. Sources say federal authorities have been aware of alleged attacker Wasil Farooqui of the Roanoke area for some time. The 20-year-old traveled to Turkey in the past year, sources say, and he may have tried to sneak into Syria, where ISIS is recruiting. Farooqui on Saturday allegedly injured a man and woman at an apartment complex with a knife, yelling “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great.” Authorities initially believed Farooqui may have been trying to behead the male victim, but on Tuesday a spokeswoman for the Roanoke County Police said police do not believe the case looks like a beheading attempt. The FBI is working with the police department to determine the nature of the incident.

9- Cyber-attack Concerns Real About U.S. Presidential Election, Stanford Scholar Says
US Cyber-security scholar Herbert Lin contends foreign hackers constitute a viable threat against the U.S. presidential election. He cites two possible types of voting hacks, with the less likely method being the alteration of electronic vote counts so the outcome does not reflect the will of the voters. “That kind of attack is hard to pull off, and I’m not very worried about that–though I worry about it some,” Lin says. However, he says a more likely threat is the race’s loser claiming election tampering by cyberattack, especially in the event of a close contest. “How would anyone ever prove that ballots, electronically cast with no permanent and auditable record, were accurately counted?” Lin asks. In terms of how the U.S. should respond to clear evidence of a foreign country hacking its political process, Lin says it requires a balancing act in “calibrating a response that exacts a penalty but does not provoke a response that is unacceptable to us–and that’s a hard thing to do.” He also says it is extremely likely a “baseline level of hacking” is happening all the time by all of the major powers..

10- Official Intelligence: FBI Probing Attempted Cyber Breach of NY Times

A U.S. official said the FBI is investigating attempted cyber intrusions targeting reporters of The New York Times and is looking into whether Russian intelligence agencies are responsible for the acts. On Tuesday evening, the Times reported that the attempted cyberattack targeted the newspaper’s Moscow bureau, but there was no evidence that it was successful. A Times spokeswoman said no internal systems at the newspaper were compromised. A U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that an investigation was underway.

11- Islamist Extremists in Britain Tap Smugglers to Reach Syria
British authorities have confronted the problem of local extremists heading to conflict zones in the Middle East since 2012, when jihadists gained ground in Syria and called on Muslims elsewhere to join them. That has led to near-daily arrests, U.K. officials say. Most of the 850-plus known to have left the U.K. for Syria took planes, buses, trains and passenger ferries, as others did elsewhere in Europe. But no-fly watch lists, beefed-up antiterror laws, and monitoring of tourist trips to Turkey by European authorities stanched that flow. Last year, the U.K. brought in new legislation, including criminal charges, to make it harder for would-be militants to leave Britain. Some have turned to criminals who usually smuggle illegal immigrants into Britain. The number of those would-be jihadists arrested and convicted for trying to reach Syria in this manner remains in single figures, but security experts say the clandestine nature of the operations makes it hard to keep a tally. Jihadist smuggling is “a weak spot and a problem” for the U.K., said Raffaello Pantucci, a security specialist at the Royal United Services Institute. British officials say few militants sneak out of Britain. A U.K. Home Office spokeswoman said the government “has taken a number of steps to strengthen our border and otherwise prevent travel by suspected terrorists.”.


12- North Korea Test-Fires Missile From Submarine

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine on Aug. 24, showcasing a significant improvement in its efforts to build a harder-to-detect means of striking American and allied forces, according to the South Korean military. The missile flew 310 miles toward Japan, according to the South Korean military’s statement. The statement said that the test showed that North Korea was making “progress” after several failed tests of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The missile test came two days after the U.S. and South Korea began one of their annual joint military exercises. North Korea has condemned all such drills as a rehearsal for an invasion, and has previously responded with warlike words or missile tests.


13- Turkey Strikes IS in Syria as Tensions Rise Over Border Town

Turkey shelled Islamic State targets across the border in Syria for the second day in a row, according to a senior Turkish official. The strikes come amid reports that Turkey-backed Syrian rebels are preparing an offensive against an IS-held border town. These incidents have put the town of Jarablus in the middle of the ongoing Syrian war, putting U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, who have been the most effective force against IS in northern Syria, on track for a confrontation with NATO ally Turkey over control of the town. The city is a crucial supply line and is the last border point that directly connects the Islamic State group with Turkey and the outside world, and separates Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria. Turkey has increased security measures at its border opposite the IS-held town in recent days, deploying tanks and armored personnel carriers in recent days. Notably, the government and the Kurds had agreed to a cease-fire recently..


14- Developing a Security Strategy: Leveraging Biometrics, Video Resolution and Analytics
Physical security technology and current market shifts towards new methods have left academic and healthcare campuses with a broad range of solutions, creating challenges when planning for the future while still maintaining and integrating existing systems. To meet security objectives and support an effective use of budgets, strategic planning around physical security technology is crucial for success. Before implementing any changes, campuses should ensure that their IT, facilities, and security departments are aligned and have clear roles and objectives. The planning process should be a collaboration between departments, relying on a properly-trained staff. Three areas to consider in the planning process are network cameras, video analytics, and biometrics. The rise of the network security camera and sophisticated video management software provides visibility to areas that had been difficult to access and manage. IT departments should account for the technology’s storage and viewing requirements and consider footage grooming to reduce the overall storage footprint. The use of video analytics to detect unusual changes in pixilation can deliver quicker response times to critical events, but the system requires significant fine-tuning and analytics to ensure accurate alerting. Biometrics are not widely deployed on campuses, but can add value to technology guarding high-risk areas such as research labs, data centers, and areas with hazardous materials. Campuses should assess how biometrics would potentially integrate into their existing credential management, particularly for academic environments with frequent student turnover.


15- Agencies Face Cyber Concerns as Apps Rely on Again Systems—Report

The majority of agencies are dependent on legacy IT systems, according to a Dell study, and more than half are using systems that are no longer vendor supported. More than 70 percent of 100 federal IT decision-makers surveyed by Dell say their agency is using outdated operating systems to run important mission applications. Although both Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 8 have reached obsolescence, many respondents reported using one of the two systems. Forty-two percent of respondents cite cybersecurity as a top concern with legacy IT. Dell’s Cameron Chehreh says budgetary pressures, the acquisition model, and security risks have held back agencies in their efforts to modernize. Additionally, 24 percent of those polled believe agencies’ lack of knowledge about available solutions is an obstacle to modernization. “Agencies are being extremely proactive and creative in how they’re trying to address it under the current way that funding works, right, so that is clearly a near-term opportunity,” Chehreh says. “We need to look at the mid- and long-term solutions that create the proper balance for everyone.”.


16- Occupying the Prairie: Tensions Rise as Tribes Move to Block a Pipeline
Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based company building the Dakota Access pipeline, calls the project a major step toward the United States’ weaning itself off foreign oil. The company says the nearly 1,170-mile buried pipeline will infuse millions of dollars into local economies and is safer than trucks and train cars that can topple and spill and crash and burn. But American Indians say it will threaten water supplies and sacred lands, and hundreds have been gathering at the gates of a construction site where crews had been building an access road toward the pipeline. Confrontations are rising among protesters, sheriff’s officers, and construction workers with the pipeline company. Local officials are struggling to handle hundreds of demonstrators filling the roads to protest and camp out in once-empty grassland about an hour south of Bismarck, the state capital. More than 20 people have been arrested on charges including disorderly conduct and trespassing onto the construction site. The pipeline company says it was forced to shut down construction this month after protesters threatened its workers and threw bottles and rocks at contractors’ vehicles. The conflict may reach a crucial moment on Wednesday in a federal court hearing. The tribe has sued to block the pipeline and plans to ask a judge in Washington to effectively halt construction. The pipeline runs overwhelmingly along private land, but where it crosses bodies of water, federal rules come into play and federal approvals are required.


17- Corporate Directors Focusing on Cybersecurity

Corporate boards are getting more involved in the cybersafeguards at their companies as data breaches continue to grab headlines. Boards sometimes view cyberthreats as an information technology department problem, and may feel that they are not knowledgeable enough to oversee cybersecurity efforts. However, companies are devoting more of their budget to cyberthreats, bringing increased scrutiny to cybersecurity. Corporate directors should fight cyberthreats not as a technology issue but as a “classic risk management issue,” says David Finn, a former federal prosecutor who spent 16 years leading Microsoft’s efforts to fight cybercrime, counterfeiting and fraud. “You have to identify risk from third parties, look at whether your leadership has the understanding they need, make sure you are funded properly, think about disclosures if you are compromised,” adds Finn, currently chief operating officer at AppEsteem in Seattle. Federal guidelines from agencies like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also can help companies get a handle on cybersecurity. The average cost of a data breach globally last year was $4 million, up 29 percent from two years earlier, according to the Ponemon Institute.




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